911 group earns national recognition

<p class="p1">The National 911 Institute has recognized the Counties of Southern Illinois 911 Association, CSI, with an award of excellence for implementing a one-of-a-kind regional Next-Generation 911 system. Union County is a CSI member. </p><p class="p1">U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., presented members of the CSI's executive board with a plaque commemorating their achievement during an annual 911 Gala which was held Tuesday evening, Feb. 23, in Washington, D.C.</p><p class="p1">Shimkus praised the group's perseverance, cooperation, resourcefulness and dedication in overcoming many obstacles to provide their citizens with the newest 911 technology. </p><p class="p1">“The CSI group banded 13 Emergency Telephone System Boards together to obtain federal grants to make the project possible.  They formed partnerships with a university, a technology institute, a competitive local exchange carrier, and forward-thinking vendors,” Shimkus said in a news release.  </p><p class="p1">“They overcame regulatory, financial, and technological challenges that would have made many throw in the towel.” </p><p class="p1">Accepting the award were CSI chairman Ken Smith of Williamson County, CSI treasurer Tracy Felty of Saline County, CSI secretary Jana Fear of Union County, CSI vice chairman William Barrett of Marion Police and CSI member Justin Vaughn of Johnson County.  </p><p class="p1">CSI co-recipients who could not attend the ceremony in Washington, D.C., included 911 coordinators Randy DeMent of Perry County, Melinda Woker of Jackson County, Becky Mueller of Pulaski County, Kyle Smith of Wabash County, Julie Irwin of White County, Juanita Kramer of Richland County, Jennifer Brown of Clay County and Steve Galt of Gallatin County.   </p><p class="p1">The award is shared with former CSI project manager Pat Lustig (Jackson County 911) for his efforts prior to taking over a statewide 911 project in Oregon, and recently retired Johnson County coordinator Jim Cuff for his seven years of work on the project.  </p><p class="p1">CSI further recognizes the contributions from system service provider NG9-1-1 Inc. and IP network provider Clearwave.</p><p class="p1">The Union County Board of Commissioners extended its congratulations to Jana Fear and the Union County Emergency Telephone System Board for receiving the national recognition and for "their hard work to modernize 911 in Southern Illinois." Fear is the Union County 911 system's coordinator.</p><p class="p2"> </p>

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